Armed Forces of the Philippines - updates

Rappler's latest stories on Armed Forces of the Philippines

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Lorenzana: ‘Nothing wrong’ with deal between China-backed telco and military

Oct 18, 2019 - 7:40 AM

The defense chief says he 'most probably will sign' the agreement between the military and Dito Telecommunity, but holds off while the Senate reviews its security implications

DEFENSE SECRETARY Delfin Lorenzana at a Senate hearing on the proposed 2020 budget of the Department of National Defense and its attached agencies. September 30, 2019. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Army foils Abu Sayyaf bomb plot in Basilan

Oct 16, 2019 - 3:28 PM

Army troops recover 6 improvised explosive devices after a clash with more than a dozen Abu Sayyaf bandits

IEDS. While scouring the encounter site, troops found these improvised explosive devices. Photo from Westmincom

7 PMA cadets tagged in Dormitorio’s death to be court martialed

Oct 15, 2019 - 4:17 PM

Court martial proceedings will run parallel to criminal cases filed against the cadets accused of hazing, torturing, and murdering the 20-year-old plebe

COMMANDANT. Brigadier General Romeo Brawner speaks to reporters at the Philippine Military Academy. Photo by Nappy Manegdeg/Rappler

Philippines, U.S., Japan hold military drills near West PH Sea

Oct 15, 2019 - 8:54 AM

Japan joins the yearly exercise for the first time as regional allies build 'interoperability' in responding to security threats and natural disasters

TOPSHOTS  A Philippine naval personnel stands on guard during the arrival of missile destroyer USS Chung Hoon (DDG-93) before the US-Philippine joint naval military exercise entitled 'Cooperation Afloat Readiness Training' (CARAT) near the disputed Spratly islands, in Puerto Princesa on the western Philippine island of Palawan on June 28, 2011. The Philippines and the US will launch naval exercises as the long-time allies seek to deepen defence ties amid tensions with China over a maritime dispute. The 11-day event will see two US missile destroyers patrol Philippine waters close to the resource-rich and strategically vital South China Sea that is at the heart of the regional territorial row. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS

Marine commandant resigns amid rumored feud with Navy chief

Oct 14, 2019 - 11:04 PM

Major General Alvin Parreño relinquishes his post 5 months before retiring and after a rift with Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, who had disagreed with a proposal to separate the Marines from the Navy

"WE'RE OKAY." Outgoing Marine Commandant Major General Alvin Parreño (center, in black) and Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad (3rd from right) share a light moment after the change-of-command ceremony at Marine Barracks Rudiardo Brown in Taguig City on Monday, October 14, 2019. Photo by JC Gotinga/Rappler

WATCH: New PH amphibious assets join U.S., Japan in military drills

Oct 12, 2019 - 8:50 PM

The KAMANDAG 3 joint exercises between the Philippine and US marines marks a significant leap forward in the country's amphibious assault capability with the deployment of its brand new assets

NEW ASSETS. The Philippine Marines along with their US and Japanese counterparts participate in the Amphibious landing exercise during the KAMANDAG 2019 drills at Marine Base Gregorio Lim in Ternate, Cavite on October 12, 2019. Photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

PH, U.S. forces kick off ‘more advanced’ KAMANDAG war games

Oct 09, 2019 - 3:05 PM

The joint military exercises will feature the Philippines' brand new amphibious assault vehicles in an international drill for the first time

Military scouring Zamboanga peninsula for kidnapped couple

Oct 07, 2019 - 4:12 PM

The gunmen who abducted Allan and Wilma Hyrons from their resort in Zamboanga del Sur have yet to be identified, but the military is looking at the Abu Sayyaf Group because of its history of kidnappings

SEARCH IS ON. The military has created a special task force to search for and rescue Allan and Wilma Hyrons, who were abducted from their resort in Zamboanga del Sur on October 4, 2019. File photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

Chinese vessels in Philippine waters: Who’s keeping score?

Oct 02, 2019 - 11:48 PM

As Chinese vessels of all sorts come and go through Philippine waters, exactly who among security officials is keeping count, and who's telling whom what to do?

BRP SIERRA MADRE. This aerial photo taken from a military aircraft shows the Sierra Madre ship of the Philippine Navy anchored near Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) with Philippine soldiers onboard to secure the perimeter in the Spratly Islands, on May 11, 2015. File photo by Ritchie Tongo/AFP

'Have heart and soul,' new PMA chief tells cadets

Oct 01, 2019 - 9:10 PM

Rear Admiral Allan Cusi formally takes his post two weeks after the gruesome death of a cadet exposed the horrors of hazing within the Philippines' premier military school

HEART AND SOUL. Rear Admiral Allan Cusi addresses cadets as he takes over as superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City on October 1, 2019. Photo by Mau Victa/Rappler

Senate to check AFP-Dito deal before Lorenzana decides on it

Sep 30, 2019 - 7:10 PM

Opposition lawmakers want a chance to back out of a deal that might give the Chinese government '130 listening posts' all over the Philippines

DONE DEAL? Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (left) and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Lt. Gen. Noel Clement face questions on a deal with China-backed Dito Telecommunity at the Senate on September 30, 2019. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Lorenzana wants Australia exempted from Duterte's foreign loan ban

Sep 30, 2019 - 4:02 PM

The defense department plans to enter a loan agreement with the Australian government to procure 6 offshore patrol vessels to be built in Cebu

LOAN FOR SHIPS. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana wants Australia exempted from a loan ban to make way for a financing agreement for new Navy ships. Photo of Lorenzana at the Senate on September 30, 2019 by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Brawner bares tools in PMA war vs hazing: Mental healthcare, honor code

Sep 28, 2019 - 12:10 PM

Brigadier General Romeo Brawner, the new PMA Commandant of Cadets, bares his battle plan for his so-called war against hazing

COMMANDANT. Brigadier General Romeo Brawner speaks to reporters at the Philippine Military Academy. Photo by Nappy Manegdeg/Rappler

AFP appoints new PMA superintendent, commandant of cadets

Sep 26, 2019 - 7:30 PM

Brigadier General Romeo Brawner Jr 'declares war on hazing,' as the military grapples with the fatal hazing of Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio

WAR ON HAZING. Brigadier General Romeo Brawner Jr has been appointed PMA Commandant of Cadets to replace Brigadier General Bartolome Bacarro who resigned. Brawner says he is "declaring war on hazing." File photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

3rd PMA cadet hospitalized for suspected hazing – AFP

Sep 25, 2019 - 10:23 AM

Three cadets from the country's premier military school are recuperating from injuries sustained from suspected hazing

PREMIER MILITARY ACADEMY. The facade of the Philippine Military Academy building in Fort del Pilar, Baguio City. Photo by Pediapediahan/Wikimedia Commons

Duterte skips ceremony as Clement assumes AFP top post

Sep 24, 2019 - 9:48 PM

It would have been Duterte's sixth change-of-command rites as Commander-in-Chief. His pick for AFP chief, Noel Clement, vows to pursue his order to end the communist insurgency.

NO SHOW. President Rodrigo Duterte skips the change-of-command ceremony for incoming AFP chief Lieutenant General Noel Clement. Vice President Leni Robredo and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana are in attendance. Photo by Charlie Villegas/Office of the Vice President

AFP can still back out of deal with Dito telco 'if necessary' – Lorenzana

Sep 24, 2019 - 11:37 AM

The defense chief says he will look into the extent of China Telecom’s technological role in Dito Telecommunity after initially insisting it was a mere investor in the consortium

NOT YET FINAL. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says he may reject the Armed Forces of the Philippines' "co-location" deal with Dito Telecommunity "if necessary." Photo of the ceremonial signing of the deal at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

WATCH: PH Navy debuts new amphibious vehicles, attack vessels

Sep 24, 2019 - 8:59 AM

The Navy's brand new amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) and multipurpose attack craft (MPAC) boosts its capability to defend the Philippines' maritime domain

ASSAULT VEHICLES. The Philippine Navy showcases its brand new amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) in a military exercise in Subic Bay, Olongapo City, on September 21, 2019. Photo by JC Gotinga/Rappler

Habeas corpus filed at SC for release of youth activist held by army

Sep 23, 2019 - 3:45 PM

The military wants Alexandrea Pacalda to register herself as a communist rebel returnee

HABEAS CORPUS. A petition for habeas corpus is filed with the Supreme Court on September 23, 2019, to demand the release of youth activist Alexandrea Pacalda who is in the custody of the military. Photo from Karapatan

AFP to 'let wheels of justice turn' in death of PMA cadet

Sep 22, 2019 - 2:26 PM

AFP chief General Benjamin Madrigal says all those involved in the death of PMA Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio 'will be made accountable'

PMA CADET. The Philippine Military Academy and police are probing the death of 20-year-old Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio. Photo from the Facebook page of Dormitorio

Military drill showcases PH’s first amphibious assault vehicles

Sep 21, 2019 - 7:18 PM

The capability to launch an attack from the sea straight into land is basic and essential for militaries of coastal states, and the Philippines is now catching up with the acquisition of brand new amphibious assault vehicles

AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) debuted 4 of its 8 brand new amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) during its DAGIT-PA joint drills in Subic Bay, Olongapo City, on September 21. Photo by Rox Cezar, AFP Public Affairs Office

Central Visayas commander Noel Clement is new armed forces chief

Sep 20, 2019 - 7:38 AM

(3rd UPDATE) President Duterte picks the general who led an intense counter-insurgency campaign in Negros and nearby provinces in the last 10 months. He will retire in 4 months.

NEW MILITARY CHIEF. Lieutenant General Noel Clement has been appointed Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Photo: Clement inspects the ranks of the Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division on July 20, 2017. Photo from the Philippine Army 10th Infantry Division

Military taps sardine fishing crews as 'reserve force' in Sulu Sea

Sep 19, 2019 - 2:15 PM

Crews of two major canned sardine companies have been armed and trained as 'special CAFGU' to guard the waters off the Zamboanga Peninsula, says the military

RESERVE FORCE. The military has enlisted the fishing crews of some big sardine companies as a paramilitary force to help guard against security threats in the Sulu Sea. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

AFP: 'NPA leader arrested' in Laguna

Sep 18, 2019 - 9:40 PM

(3rd UPDATE) The military says the arrest of Antonia Setias Dizon is a 'major blow' to the communist party, but a labor rights group calls it 'illegal' and a form of 'political harassment'

REBEL LEADER. Antonia Setias Dizon is arrested in Laguna on September 17, 2019. The military says her arrest is a 'major blow' to the communist New People's Army. Photo from the Armed Forces of the Philippines

AFP to probe Murad’s claim that military is ‘main source’ of Mindanao loose firearms

Sep 18, 2019 - 5:07 PM

The interim chief minister of the new Bangsamoro autonomous region earlier said that many loose firearms in Mindanao bear the markings of the Department of National Defense

LOOSE FIREARMS. Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim, BARMM interim Chief Minister and MILF Chairman, said the military is the 'main source' of illegal firearms in Mindanao. In this photo, Presidential Peace Process Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr inspects guns submitted by the MILF for decommissioning in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat on September 7, 2019. Photo by Rappler

AFP chief downplays Dito Telecommunity's Chinese connection

Sep 17, 2019 - 11:58 PM

'You are dealing with a Chinese company, not the Chinese government,' General Benjamin Madrigal Jr says of the Chinese government-owned China Telecom

NO WORRIES? Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr downplays Chinese espionage worries over the military's co-location deal with Dito Telecommunity. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Dito, DICT dismiss Chinese spying concerns about deal with AFP

Sep 17, 2019 - 7:52 PM

Under the agreement, the China-backed telco will pay for its use of the military's facilities – but in kind

NO WORRIES? Dito Telecommunity and the Department of Information and Communications Technology say a deal to put up the telco's facilities in military camps is safe from Chinese spying. Photo of the ceremonial signing of the deal on Sept. 11, 2019, by Darren Langit/Rappler

Hontiveros wants Senate probe into AFP deal with China-backed telco

Sep 17, 2019 - 7:03 PM

'If this deal can fly stealthily under the nose of the man responsible for our nation's defense, then it raises anew the vulnerability of our borders from intruders,' says Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto

DND has a 'concern' about AFP deal with China-backed telco

Sep 16, 2019 - 9:00 PM

The deal allowing Dito Telecommunity to put up facilities in military camps may have followed the regular procedure, but it must pass the defense chief's scrutiny, says DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong

CONCERNS RAISED. Department of National Defense Spokesperson Arsenio Andolong says  "they have a concern" about a deal allowing a China-backed telco to set up equipment in military camps. Photo of the ceremonial signing of the deal between the AFP and Dito Telecommunity at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Lorenzana to ‘carefully scrutinize’ AFP deal with China-backed telco

Sep 16, 2019 - 5:02 PM

The defense chief says he was unaware of the deal to let Dito Telecommunity (formerly Mislatel) build facilities in military camps, and will check it before giving his approval

AFP says deal with China-backed telco 'no cause for concern'

Sep 16, 2019 - 2:00 PM

The military says it has 'appropriate safeguards' in place, as it defends a deal allowing Mislatel to build facilities in military camps

SPYING IN CAMPS? AFP Spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said on Monday, September 16, that having a China-backed telco's facilities in military camps won't be a cause for concern. Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Lorenzana unaware of AFP-Mislatel deal, vows probe – Panelo

Sep 16, 2019 - 12:48 PM

The Philippine government can still pull out of the deal if officials identify security risks in the arrangement, says Malacañang

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte discusses matters with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on the sidelines of the Joint Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) Command Conference at the Malacañan Palace on June 18, 2019. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

More PH-U.S. security cooperation activities lined up in 2020

Sep 13, 2019 - 6:08 PM

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Benjamin Madrigal is presented with the Legion of Merit, the US' highest military decoration awarded to foreign military personnel

HIGHEST HONOR. AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr is presented with the Legion of Merit by US Indo-Pacific Commander Adm. Philip Davidson during the 2019 Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, on September 13. Photo from the US Embassy in Manila

'Absurd': Why build China-backed telco towers in military camps?

Sep 13, 2019 - 8:45 AM

A senator and a security expert say the deal exposes the Philippine military to Chinese spying at a time when other countries are shunning Chinese technology companies

Abu Sayyaf terrorist killed in Sulu clash was planning suicide attack – military

Sep 12, 2019 - 10:39 PM

The military says Nanz Sawadjaan, nephew of ISIS' leader in the Philippines, would have become a suicide bomber if he had not been killed in a raid on Tuesday, September 10

FOCUSED OPERATIONS. The Armed Forces of the Philippines has launched a series of operations targeting the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu. File photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

Nephew of pro-ISIS Abu Sayyaf leader killed in Sulu – military

Sep 12, 2019 - 7:22 PM

(UPDATED) Nanz Sawadjaan, nephew of Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, is killed in a firefight with government troops. His death is a 'great loss' to the Abu Sayyaf Group, says the military.

TERRORIST CAMP. Philippine Army troops overran a lair of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Patikul, Sulu, after a firefight on Tuesday, September 10. Photo courtesy of AFP Western Mindanao Command

AFP, Mislatel sign deal to build facilities in military camps

Sep 11, 2019 - 5:45 PM

The Mislatel consortium includes Chinese government-run China Telecom, raising concerns that its facilities may be used for espionage

DEAL SIGNED. Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. (center), (3rd-Telco) Mislatel President and CEO Dennis Uy (left), MGEN Adrian Sanchez (right) shake hands during the Ceremonial Signing of MOA between AFP and Mislatel at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Female ‘suicide bomber’ in Sulu blast was from Abu Sayyaf – military

Sep 09, 2019 - 6:47 PM

The chief of the military’s Western Mindanao Command says terror groups in Mindanao could be weakening, while an analyst says they are evolving and could launch devastating attacks in the future

LESSONS LEARNED. Philippine Army soldiers survived a terror attack in Indanan, Sulu on Sunday, September 8, because of tactics drawn from past deadly bombings. File photo of soldiers in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao Province. Photo by Lito Borras/Rappler

Suspected suicide bomber attacks Sulu military camp

Sep 08, 2019 - 10:00 PM

(UPDATED) Joint Task Force Sulu commander Major General Corleto Vinluan Jr blames the Abu Sayyaf Group for the bombing

CA confirms Cirilito Sobejana as AFP Westmincom chief

Sep 04, 2019 - 4:58 PM

Marawi-based 103rd Infantry Brigade commander Brigadier General Romeo Brawner Jr also gets the nod of the powerful Commission on Appointments

CONFIRMED. Lt Gen Cirilito Sobejana has been confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

PH Navy to get submarines, might lease HQ

Aug 29, 2019 - 12:11 AM

Racing to keep up with other countries' naval capabilities, the Philippines plans to acquire new warships and submarines, but it might lease its naval headquarters to help fund the asset-buying spree

NAVY CHIEF. Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad speaks to reporters at Naval Station Jose Andrada in Manila on August 28, 2019. Photo by JC Gotinga/Rappler

Unfriendly, not hostile: Navy drafting protocols for warship intrusions

Aug 28, 2019 - 6:41 PM

The Philippine Navy is working on protocols for foreign vessels 'intruding' in territorial waters, following President Rodrigo Duterte's order to enforce sovereignty even through 'unfriendly' ways

FIRST FRIGATE. The BRP Jose Rizal as it was launched in a shipyard in South Korea in May 2019. Expected to join the Philippine Navy fleet in 2020, it will be the country's most powerful warship yet. Photo from the Philippine Navy

Defense department proposes 5th largest share of 2020 national budget

Aug 28, 2019 - 8:25 AM

Pressure’s on to increase the defense establishment’s capability to confront internal and external threats, but retirees’ pensions still get the largest increase in allocation

CAPABILITY BOOST. The Department of National Defense lobbies for a higher budget to help it address the country's security threats. File photo of Philippine Army tank by Lito Borras/Rappler

'What militarization?' AFP defends planned presence in schools

Aug 24, 2019 - 4:50 PM

The military says soldiers would be 'engaging' students during information campaigns and lectures, not curtailing their academic freedom

WHAT MILITARIZATION? AFP Spokeperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo at a press conference on security issues at Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

LIST: These celebrities are also reservists in the AFP

Aug 22, 2019 - 7:00 PM

The AFP reserve force is now star-studded

RESERVISTS. Matteo Guidicelli, Dingdong Dantes, and Vilma Santos are among the celebrities who are part of the AFP reserves. Rappler file photos

Lorenzana lauds Duterte’s warning to foreign vessels trespassing PH waters

Aug 21, 2019 - 10:00 AM

The defense chief says the license to get compliance from unauthorized vessels even through an ‘unfriendly manner’ gives security forces authority to enforce the law

DEFENSE CHIEF. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte discusses matters with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on the sidelines of the Joint Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) Command Conference at the Malacañan Palace on June 18, 2019. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Chinese Coast Guard ship spotted near Ayungin Shoal

Aug 20, 2019 - 8:48 PM

The military also reports that Chinese and Vietnamese fishing vessels were sighted around Panata Island in the West Philippine Sea

BRP SIERRA MADRE. This aerial photo taken from a military aircraft shows the Sierra Madre ship of the Philippine Navy anchored near Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) with Philippine soldiers onboard to secure the perimeter in the Spratly Islands, on May 11, 2015. File photo by Ritchie Tongo/AFP

Police, AFP presence in campuses needed to prevent U.S.-like school shootings – Galvez

Aug 20, 2019 - 6:45 PM

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito Galvez Jr points to the 'international' spread of school shootings, saying this is enough to reconsider the 1989 deal banning police and military from UP campuses

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte welcomes newly-appointed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Carlito Galvez Jr., as a new member of his cabinet prior to the 33rd Cabinet Meeting held at the Malacañan Palace on January 7, 2019. ROLANDO MAILO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Military hits 'trespassing' by Chinese warships in Philippine waters

Aug 15, 2019 - 10:15 PM

'Incursions' by Chinese naval vessels in the Sibutu Strait may not have been overtly hostile but the military says they pose a security threat that needs to be addressed

TRESPASSING. The Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (AFP-Westmincom) reported 5 Chinese warships passed Philippine waters in July and August 2019. Photo from AFP-Westmincom

Youth activist to military: Don’t use me to railroad your agenda

Aug 14, 2019 - 5:20 PM

Alicia Lucena denies she was kidnapped by Anakbayan and slams the military for using her 'family issues' to revive the Anti-Subversion Law

NOT KIDNAPPED. Anakbayan youth member Alicia Lucena faces the media together with members of the progressive Makabayan bloc. Photo from Makabayan bloc